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What can you recycle?

We're doing a great job of recycling in Calgary. In fact, we're recycling more than ever, but it's also important that we recycle the right things and properly prepare our materials.

When you put items that don't belong in the blue cart or Community Recycling Depot, it can cause injuries to workers and shutdowns on the recycling sorting line.

If you're unsure of where to place an item, check out our online recycling search tool to find out what goes where.

Place these items loose in your blue cart or recycling depot

Hazardous Materials Can't Be Recycled

Paper and cardboard

  • Cardboard boxes (cereal boxes, pizza boxes, tissue boxes, paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes)
  • Catalogues and magazines
  • Newspapers and flyers
  • paper
  • letters
  • envelopes/window envelopes
  • greeting cards
  • brochures
  • non-foil gift wrap
  • paper bags
  • Shredded paper (in a tied transparent plastic bag)
  • Telephone books and paperback books
  • Soup and beverage cartons (for example: Tetra Pak® packages)

Learn how to prepare your paper/cardboard.

Plastic jugs, bottles, packaging and food containers

  • Clean plastic jugs, bottles, packaging and food containers/lids with the recycling symbol 1-7 (please note: cups, food containers or packaging made of foam are not accepted)
  • Plastic bags, plastic wrap, bubble wrap

Bundle all plastic bags, plastic wrap and bubble wrap into one plastic bag and tie closed.

Recycling Tips:
Which plastic bags are recyclable?
If plastic stretches (like a grocery bag) it's recyclable; if it crinkles (like a cereal box liner), it's not recyclable.

Are all plastic lids accepted?
If a plastic lid has a recycling symbol and is larger than a business card, put it in your blue cart. If it's too small it can't be properly sorted at the recycling facility.

Learn how to prepare your plastics.

Metal food cans and foil

  • Food cans
  • Metal lids
  • Clean aluminum foil, aluminum foil plates and containers

Find out how to prepare your food cans.

Glass bottles and jars

  • Clean glass jars and bottles

Learn how to prepare your glass bottles and jars.

Beverage containers

  • Refundable beverage containers

They can also be returned to bottle depots for refunds. For more information, see the Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corp.

Learn how to prepare your beverage containers.

To learn more about what can and cannot go in your blue cart or Community Recycling Depot, download our Easy Guide to Recycling or watch our Recycle Smart video. If you would like to receive the Easy Guide in French, Hanzi or Gurmukhi, please call 311.

What if my blue cart is full?

If you have more recycling than will fit in your blue cart, try flattening cardboard boxes to make some extra room, or save these materials until the following week's collection. You can also take your recyclables to a Community Recycling Depot.

Exposure to rain and snow can reduce the quality of recyclables, and creates a problem with litter in the community. For this reason, we only collect recyclables that fit inside the blue cart or Community Recycling Depot bins. Any materials left outside of the collection containers will be picked up as garbage.